Council to step up Granard Motte bid

The motte site in Granard. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
Local politicians are to seek a meeting with Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys in an attempt to bring one of Co Longford’s oldest heritage sites back into public ownership.

Local politicians are to seek a meeting with Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys in an attempt to bring one of Co Longford’s oldest heritage sites back into public ownership.

Councillors also want to hold fresh talks with Junior Minister Simon Harris about involving the Office of Public Works (OPW) in any proposed deal.

Fianna Fáil’s PJ Reilly led those calls at last week’s monthly meeting of Longford County Council.

He said the Government were well aware of the Council’s efforts in trying to secure the 12th century structure, but admitted the deal had hit a stumbling block.

“Both ministers visited the site back in November, which they were all supportive of, to try and get this monument back in the ownership of the OPW,” he told the meeting.

Cllr Reilly said the recent purchase of around 15 acres of land by Granard Enterprise Moate Committee in a site adjacent to the Motte made the proposed acquisition all the more important.

“One project interacts with the other so it is very important we (Council) get this over the line,” he added.

They were words which Cllr Micheal Carrigy endorsed.

The Fine Gael group leader pledged to do all he could to arrange the Council delegation being sought by his Fianna Fáil colleague.

However, he stated the importance in ensuring the taxpayer was not seen to be paying over the odds for the historic monument.

“It’s an important project to be delivered for the north Longford area and we (Fine Gael) will do our best to organise a delegation with the two ministers.

“At the end of the day it comes down to finance. It’s important for the Department or any organisation for that matter to get value for money and that’s where the problem lies.

“If that (asking amount) could be negotiated the Department would be forthcoming but not at the present figure that’s in circulation.”

His party running mate, Cllr Paraic Brady also spoke publicly on the topic. He suggested that perhaps he, alongside Cllr Carrigy and Cllr Reilly approach the landowner in question in a bid to get the Motte deal “over the line”.